The Scindapsus pictus exotica is a vigorous growing vining nature plant with dark green heart-shaped leaves and silver-white splashes. It is an evergreen flowering plant and belongs to the Araceae family. This twining tropical plant grows in the USDA zone 10-12 in outdoor conditions. Growers can also grow it indoors followed by the right care and management. It produces long trailing stems and velvety leaves so adds significant beauty to the living space. It is known to be native to the humid and tropical Asian regions where it specifically grows as climbing on the trees or creeping on the ground in the shade of trees. It has slow growth in the wild and its vines can reach the height of about 10 feet.
Scindapsus Pictus Exotica Plant Care and Growing Guide
- Use good quality, and contaminant-free soil to support good growth and development.
- Try to hang these plants on walls, or desk racks.
- Ideally, this plant can be placed in the bathroom as it grows well in humid surroundings.
- Use a trellis to allow this plant to climb.
- Regularly trim the growing plant to help it grow fuller.
- Plant 4-7 plants in a larger container to get complete or bushy effects of the growing plants.
- Avoid watering stress and water plants according to their needs and prevailing climatic conditions.
- Use both organic and inorganic sources of fertilizers for better nutrient provision to the plant roots.
- Avoid the excessive use of synthetic chemical fertilizers as they can negatively affect the soil properties.
- Report the plants after proper root bounding.
- Regularly check the growing plants for the variegation patterns and loss of variegation.
- Use scissors or pruners with sharper blades to control the shape and growing nature of this plant.
- Its leaves prioritize to grow towards light source so regularly rotate this plant to maintain a good shape.
- Use a damp paper towel or cloth to gently wipe the leaves for maintenance of neat and clean conditions.
Growers can observe the excellent growth of Scindapsus pictus exotica by using well-draining and fertile soil in the pots. Different types of potting mixes are easily available in online stores and nurseries. Growers can easily get grow media or potting mix according to the nature of growing plants. It is also possible to make good quality grow mix at home by mixing half amount of loamy soil and half amount of peat, compost, muck, and partially decomposed straws.
The addition of organic waste or materials is essentially helpful to improve soil fertility. Moreover, the decomposition of organic material significantly improves the soil structure, water-holding capacity, and nutrient provision capacities. Use of clay and sandy soil is not recommended as clay soil holds too much water while sandy soil causes immediate drainage of the water. The use of soil amendments and artificial grow media is also a good choice to improve the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the soil.
Some of the beneficial ingredients that growers can use to make a potting mix for the plants include the following.
Coco coir: It has organic nature and is obtained from coconut trees. It is essentially important to make grow mix due to its exceptional properties such as good drainage, water holding capacity, and absorbency. Most often it is being used as a substituent for the peat moss and is easily available in nurseries and stores.
Compost: It is a rich source of essential nutrients for growing plants. Growers can easily make compost at home in the compost bins, recyclers, and backyards. Compost helps plants roots to absorb nutrients in a better way and also improve the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil. Different types of organic materials and waste substances are used for making compost, so it releases all kinds of nutrients. These nutrients are not only helpful for the soil but also important to sustain microbial communities and soil biodiversity. Soil having good biodiversity, and microbial life is much more efficient to sustain better plant growth than the soil having less microbial activities.
Shredded bark: Use of shredded bark along with soil in the grow mix helps plants to breathe better. Shredded tree bark has larger particles and allows the formation of air pockets in the soil. Moreover, it helps for better soil moisture absorption and helps plants to thrive in water-deficient conditions as well. Growers can easily prepare the shredded bark at home by following the below-mentioned instructions.
- Get tree bark from any fungus-free, disease-free, and healthy-growing trees.
- Use a sharp knife for shredding the bark pieces in a specific downward motion.
- Create thinner pieces with a thickness of about seven paper sheets.
- Cut each shredded bark piece to a length of about one inch.
- Collect the shredded bark and carefully place it in the container bottom.
- Cut enough bark so that ½ inches of the container can be filled with the shredded bark.
- Add some water so that bark is properly covered in the pot or container.
- Add compost or peat moss, and soil to fill the container for growing plants.
Perlite: It is a sterile, mined, and lightweight volcanic rock that is available in white, small Styrofoam balls. It is an ideal choice for making gardening grow mix as it helps to increase drainage, pore space, and water holding capacity for 3-4 times. It has neutral pH and is easily available at garden centers and nurseries.
Vermiculite: It is a mined mineral and is conditioned by specific and appropriate heating for expansion into lighter particles. It is a rich source of magnesium and calcium and slowly provides nutrients to the growing plants. Other than this it is also helpful to improve water holding capacity and drainage of the growing mix so helps to improve plant growth on a sustainable basis.
Peat moss: It is the most important ingredient in most potting mixes and is a stable and easily available material. It helps to bulk up the grow mix without the addition of much weight and helps to improve the water holding capacity. It also helps for good drainage and aeration but is low in nutrients. Its pH ranges between 3.5-4.5 so growers must have to add some other organic materials and fertilizers along with the peat moss to improve soil fertility.
Limestone: The use of pulverized dolomitic limestone, and calcitic limestone is greatly helpful for neutralizing the pH of the soil and grow mix. The grower should add at least ¼ cup of limestone 6 gallons of peat moss. These minerals are less expensive as they are obtained from natural deposits and growers can easily get these from nearby gardening centers and nurseries.
This plant grows well in the pH range of 6.1-6.5. Usually, pH is not a major concern for this plant as it can easily tolerate slight fluctuations in the pH level. Different soils have different pH levels due to the presence of various minerals, contaminants, elements, chemical compounds, and the nature of the parent material. It is always possible to maintain the pH in the optimal range according to the nature of growing plants. pH can be easily maintained by the addition of amendments, compost, organic matter, biochar, and minerals. Different types of pH meters are available in the market and growers can purchase their pH meters for regular testing. Moreover, they can also take the soil to the nearby soil testing laboratories and services to check the soil pH and soil health.
Its vining and exotic leaves grow well in bright sunny locations. Ideally, growers can hang it in the baskets near the near sunny windows to ensure maximum exposure to sunlight. This plant grows well in the presence of bright light but direct exposure to the sunlight and grow lights should be avoided. This does not only help to improve its exposure to the sun but also improves the beauty of bookcases, shelves, and walls. It can also be placed near the desk or table, but the provision of optimal light and proper pruning is a must management condition. although it requires more sunlight to grow but can also tolerate some shade, it is an ideal choice to improve the beauty of homes and offices.
Water this plant to a depth of top 5cm when the soil is completely dry. Scindapsus pictus exotica requires more water in the summer but the watering frequency can be reduced in the spring and winter. Growers can water it two times a week during summer but can cut the watering to about 14-20 days in the winter. However, checking the soil moisture contents is the topmost priority to determine the watering needs of the growing plants.
One of the best watering ways for this plant is to properly soak the soil with filtered water. Allow the easy drainage to remove the excess water and must do watering at room temperature to avoid irrigation stress. Overwatering should be avoided especially for the hanging baskets because root rotting can affect the lush foliage as well. Resultantly, yellow leaves, weak growth, and mushy stems can be observed followed by death in the worst scenario. In case of extensive root, rotting take the healthy growing cuttings from plants and propagate them for new growth.
Ideally, this plant grows well in the temperature range of 18-29 degrees Celsius, and thus average room temperature is best for growing this plant indoors. Any fluctuation in temperature can cause direct negative effects on the foliage, therefore temperature regulation is the most important factor to ensure normal growth. Temperature monitoring and regulating devices must be used for this plant as its growth is also affected by household cooling, and heating. It can also be hung in the baskets in the outdoor conditions in the temperate regions to beautify the balcony, and patio in the summer. Growers must take the hanging baskets indoors if the temperature drops less than 16 degrees Celsius.
The humidity requirements of indoor growing Scindapsus pictus exotica are 40-50% on average. Maintaining the higher humidity levels helps plants to grow even better. Browning of leaf tips is also an indication of more humidity requirements for this plant. This plant is known to be native to tropical areas but can easily adapt the drier indoor conditions with little compromise in its growth and development. Thus, growers should ensure optimal humidity and good air circulation to boost the overall health of the growing plant.
Scindapsus pictus exotica requires only one fertilization during each summer and spring season. The use of balanced and diluted houseplant fertilizer helps to produce silver foliage, soft, and vibrant dark green leaves. Growers can apply fertilizers along with watering to get the best results as good soil moisture is required to allow movement of nutrients from the soil to plants. Changing the growing media or soil after every 3-4 months is helpful to avoid the buildup of minerals and harmful salts. This practice is essentially helpful to avoid root burning and browning of leaf tips. Dormant growth is a normal phenomenon in the winter and fall and this growth suppression is not related to nutrient deficiency. Thus, there is no need to fertilize the growing plants during this period. Only light watering without the addition of fertilizers is sufficient to avoid the death of the plants.
Scindapsus pictus exotica requires less pruning as compared to the other houseplants. Prune the specific vines by slightly trimming the longer stems to the appropriate length. Cutting below the good nodes helps to support new growth to get the bushy appearance of this plant. Pruning of the leggy stems, yellow leaves, dying and dead stems are also helpful to improve its appearance and shape. Pruning the twining vines also helps for propagation to grow new plants.
Repotting Scindapsus pictus exotica after every two years is a good idea to encourage good growth and development. Transferring this plant in a larger container also helps to promote better growth. Growers must check the health of roots and symptoms of damage and decay during the repotting process. The sign for repotting this plant includes water pooling, slower growth, and the emergence of roots out of the pot. It is simple to repot this plant by removing the plant from its current place, removing excess soil from its roots, and placing it in a new and larger container filled with good quality soil. Never choose any large-sized container as it can cause drainage issues soggy soil, and root rotting.
Scindapsus Pictus Exotica Propagation
- Propagation by using stem cuttings is the best way to grow Scindapsus pictus exotica.
- Snip the healthy growing and good quality stems of 12-15 cm length to get good propagation results.
- Cutting the stems immediately below the good nodes is important to start good growth.
- Moreover, the selected cutting should have few leaves and three to four nodes on the stems.
- Remove the lower leaves on the stem to allow the better rooting of the cutting.
- The stem cutting can also be placed in the water-filled jar, soil, potting mix, or grow media.
- Newer growth can be observed from the soil-covered or submerged node after two to three weeks.
- Transfer the rooted cutting to the clean and contaminant-free pot filled with good quality and fresh potting mix or soil.
- Place the pot in the bright but indirect light to get good results.
- Water well and regularly monitors the growth and development patterns to sustain better health of the plant.
- Direct placement of cutting in the soil also favors good propagation and healthy growth. It is important to seal the pot with the help of a plastic bag for soil propagation.
- Avoid heavy irrigation at this point and gently sprinkle the water on the soil to keep appropriate soil moisture contents.
- Covering the cutting with a plastic bag helps to maintain a humid environment that in turn favors speedy rooting.
- Remove the covering after 3-4 weeks and allow the rooted cutting to grow normally.
How to Grow Scindapsus Pictus Exotica From Seeds
This plant rarely produces flowering and fruiting so propagation by using stem cuttings is the best choice to grow new plants.
Scindapsus Pictus Exotica Common Problems and How to Treat
Scindapsus pictus exotica is a hardy plant and is rarely affected by the insect pest attack. Spider mites and scale insects are major effects that affect its growth and development. Identifying the common symptoms of pests on the plants is the major factor to control the pest populations. Spider mites make strands like thin webs on the foliage of this plant. Whereas scales are brown and make bumpy growth on its stems.
Growers can easily eradicate the pest populations by neem oil-based pesticides, organic pesticides, and soap-based formulations. Best results can be obtained by spraying the effective pesticides after every 7-14 days. Moreover, growers can also handpick the pests whenever visible. Cleaning its leaves with a wet paper towel, and gentle water spray is also helpful to maintain good hygienic conditions and to eradicate the insect pests.
Most of the diseases related to Scindapsus pictus exotica are related to overwatering such as root rotting. Root rotting can be avoided by reducing overwatering, soggy soils, and fungal infections in the rhizosphere and around the rooting systems. Stems may appear mushy and black at this time and leaves can turn yellow due to disease attacks. The majority of diseases in these plants can be reduced by appropriate watering by determining the plants’ needs and soil moisture contents. Prune off the roots showing decaying signs. Cut the fresh and healthy growing stems in case of excessive rotting to allow new growth by propagation.
Typically, the leaf browning of Scindapsus pictus exotica is caused due to low humidity levels. This problem can be easily resolved by increasing the humidity levels in the surroundings. It is also possible to reduce leaf browning by placing the pots on the water tray and adding pebbles to it. Brown spots on the leaves can also be caused by direct exposure to sunlight. So, leaf browning can also be reduced by keeping it in a place where it can get filtered light or partial shade.
Leaf yellowing in this plant is an indication of overwatering. Soggy soil causes waterlogged conditions and plants roots are not able to get nutrients and air. Resultantly leaves get deprived of nutrients and leave become yellow and pale-colored.
Various biotic and abiotic stresses can cause leaf curling in Scindapsus pictus exotica plants. Curling of foliage may be due to underwatering, poor exposure to sunlight, excessive dryness, and heat. The problem of leaf curling can be avoided by ensuring proper care and management measures.
Dying Scindapsus Pictus Exotica
Poor growth development and death of this plant can happen due to various possible reasons. Root rotting is the major reason for the death of this plant so growers must avoid excessive dampness and waterlogging. Other than this too much exposure to the bright sunlight and underwatering and less humidity may also cause the death of healthy growing plants. Therefore, management of all major factors is essentially important to maintain good growth.
Aphids can easily devour their leaves and leave brown and black spots on the plant surface. The aphid population can be reduced by using Ivory liquid, neem oil, or insecticidal soap. It is important to use chemical-free, and perfume-free products to make insecticidal sprays. Growers can also make soap sprays at home, but only mild concentrations should be used to avoid damaging the growing plants.
Usually, the fungus gnats’ problem is most common in wet soils. Their larvae easily attack the roots of this plant for feeding and cause poor growth and wilting. The problem of fungus gnats can be avoided by using a self-watering planter as it helps water absorption by roots through the wick and thus there is no excessive wetting on the topsoil.
Mealybugs are tiny parasites and often infect this plant by the insertion of a feeding tube to plant tissues for sap-sucking. Severe infestation can lead to compromised growth and even the death of plants. The problem of mealybug infestation can be reduced by rubbing the alcohol-dipped cotton swab on the stems and leaves. The use of neem oil and organic formulations is also a good choice to prevent mealybug populations from growing plants.
Downy mildew and mealybugs are the major reasons for leaf drooping. So, growers must check and control their populations to avoid leaf drooping. Moreover, fertilization and overwatering can also contribute to these problems so all factors must be controlled to get good results.
Other Related Varieties
- Scindapsus pictus‘Argyraeus’: This plant has dark green and smaller leaves. The variegation is more defined with evenly dispersed, less splotchy silver markings. The leaves have specifically silver edges, and the plant is named so because of silver variegation. Its leaves have a darker color and its leaves have striking contrast on their surface.
- Scindapsus pictus ‘Silvery Ann(e)’: This variety has highly variegated, light green colored, and heart-shaped leaves.
- Scindapsus pictus jade satin: This is a rare variety and is often confused with the jade Pothos. There are no silver patches on its leaves rather they have a cool texture.
Is Scindapsus pictus exotica a toxic plant?
This plant is poisonous to cats, dogs, and all other animals. This plant contains higher levels of insoluble calcium oxalates and can cause swallowing difficulty, oral swelling, excessive drooling, and severe irritation. The sap of this plant may also cause skin burning, dermatitis, and skin itching in human beings.
Do Scindapsus pictus exotica produce flowers?
Flowering is an insignificant feature of Scindapsus pictus exotica, but it can produce small inflorescence (spadix) during the summer season. Usually, the color of these leaves is bright green and leads to the development of small berries. It is important to know that flowering and fruiting is a rare phenomenon for these plants and there is no link between the nutritional deficiencies and poorest management.
Does the Scindapsus pictus exotica have an invasive nature?
This plant has invasive growing nature in humid and frost-free climatic conditions. Its aggressive growth and vining nature can be observed in the subtropical and tropical regions.
Is there any way to ensure faster growth of Scindapsus pictus exotica?
Scindapsus pictus exotica has a slow-growing nature but the faster growth and development can be encouraged by regular feeding and maintaining the right environmental conditions. Overapplication and underapplication of fertilizers, water, and other inputs must be avoided to minimize the adverse effects on the growing plants.
Is Scindapsus pictus exotica an air-purifying plant?
Studies conducted by the leading scientific organizations and researchers have shown that Scindapsus pictus exotica has good capability to remove certain air pollutants including benzene, toluene, xylene, formaldehyde, carbon mono oxide, and toluene.